Term Paper - Brooke Galietto English 355 Professor Tim...

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Brooke Galietto April 20, 2011 English 355 Professor Tim Melley Term Paper The Dangerous Duo: Modernity and Consumerism Traces of modernity are commonly found in business due to the fact that injecting modernity into your business processes can foster an increase in the firm’s bottom line. A larger bottom line symbolizes an increase in shareholder wealth, which is precisely the ultimate goal of the organization. Modernity tactics boost a firm’s bottom line by increasing efficiency so that products can be available at a faster rate and a lower price for the consumer. Evidently, modernity perpetuates consumerism. In her novel, My Year of Meats , Ruth Ozeki uncovers the social problems that exist when a society’s priorities are rooted in modernity’s principles and consumerism invades peoples lives. She explores profound negative effects that the dangerous partnership between modernity and consumerism has on the individual and the society as a whole. Ozeki supports her argument by portraying the corruption of the meat industry, the unethical interconnectedness of advertising, consumerism, and the information provided by the media, the “Wal-Martization” of American business, and the dilution of unique culture worldwide. As a solution to the chain of social problems listed above, Ozeki calls her audience to be proactive in seeking authenticity and truth in regard to what they digest as natural and true. Ozeki categorizes her argument into the problem faced by individuals alongside the ramifications on society as a whole. Throughout the novel, the reader discovers that symptoms of modernity and evidence of consumerism invade both the media and the meat industry, normal aspects of daily life. Ozeki perhaps chooses to exemplify consumerism’s influence on these industries because as consumers we digest the meat we eat as well as the information we receive. Therefore, Ozeki suggests the intimacy between the dangers of modernity and the food and
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thoughts we allow to enter our bodies. If this is the case, perhaps Ozeki’s purpose is to caution her audience of the harms we subject ourselves to by remaining ignorant. The most obvious social problem Ozeki presents in the novel is the meat industry’s use of DES. Its purpose is to increase efficiency of meat production. For the producer, DES causes beneficial side effects in chickens, “males develop female characteristics – plump breasts and succulent meats”, as well as in beef cattle, “they get fatter quicker” and “could be ‘finished’ (brought to slaughter weight) more than a month sooner” (124). DES is a great accomplishment in the eyes of a proponent of modernity because “farmers could process animals on an assembly line, like cars of computer chips” (125). The assembly line is a quintessential example of applying the principles of modernity to a business situation in order to increase efficiency and consequently profits. The problem with efficiency, assembly lines, and in turn the use of DES is
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Term Paper - Brooke Galietto English 355 Professor Tim...

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